Camping with Kids book review

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids
written by Helen Olsson and beautifully illustrated by Scotty Reifsnyder

If you have kids and haven’t gone camping with them yet, Helen Olsson has taken the guess work out of it for you. Her new book The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids covers everything from what to bring to what to do while you are there. Olsson’s guide is a must-have for first timers. If you have camped with your children before, you might learn a few tricks.

Included in the comprehensive guide is Planning Your Trip, Gearing Up, The Campsite, Camp Grub (find a recipe for her pancakes here on my blog), Outdoor Recreation, Campsite Boredom Busters, Camp Arts and Crafts, Hygiene, First Aid and Safety. Even though we are experienced campers, I am looking forward to bringing this guide along on our next trip for inspiration and ideas. Wait. I might need to use it before as well!

There are numerous lists to help you stay organized (I am the queen of the list!). She includes the following checklists*:

  • Hardware (tent, sleeping bags, etc)
  • Little tykes gear (I have brought a baby camping; this is great!)
  • Kitchen gear (see photo)
  • Camping kitchen
  • Software (clothes)
  • Footwear
  • Water based activities
  • Camp art
  • Stargazing
In the back of the book, there is a packing checklist which includes all of the above and more. 

Olsson includes Smart Tips in every chapter. As you might know, I love tips as it really helps. There’s even a page dedicated to duct tape. I never realized how handy it was!

After reading this book, I am truly inspired to take my kids camping again. Coming from someone who never camped until she was 30 (my Dad believed in “motel” camping), this says a lot. If you are interested in buying the book, you can do that directly from Roost BooksGuess what?! You can get a discount. The family and friends discount code is FAMCHEF12, for 30% OFF, and expires on September 15, 2012. Enjoy this wonderful book!

*Excerpted from THE DOWN AND DIRTY GUIDE TO CAMPING WITH KIDS by Helen Olsson, (c)2012. Published by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.
Helen Olsson is a freelance travel and skiing writer and a contributor to the New York Times Travel and Escapes sections, where she writes about family outdoor and adventure travel. Visit her website at

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One Response to Camping with Kids book review

    Stephanie Weber July 14, 2012 at 4:20 am #

    Oh, this would have been great to have! Camping with the kids soon and a book like this would come in handy. The good news? It looks like I have everything on the one page you showed! 🙂

    Thanks again for the great tips and inspirational ideas!

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